|Megan Garvin goes up for a big kill during Carbon's first second round match against Uintah. She had 23 kills in the title game vs. Morgan.|
The Carbon Lady Dinos volleyball squad came to the state championships at Utah Valley State College this past weekend with something looming just behind their every action; whether they knew it or not they were champions already. Their tight loss in the state title match to Morgan was far less important than the way they represented themselves, the fans and the families who love and support them.
Watching them play was like watching a group of young girls become women as they played with the focus and veracity of seasoned veterans. Even as they ran into the brick wall that was Morgan Saturday night, the girls pounded with willful abandon against the seemingly immovable object.
And when they won the second game of the contest that would go to five, it was like watching Rocky draw blood from Ivan Drago for the first time in Rock IV. The Dinos came to play and leave all they had on the court and that is what made them champions.
Carbon's first year coach Cristian Johnson knew before the game just how tough Morgan would be and just how ready her team was to face them. "It is going to be a battle," said Johnson. "Morgan has been here before and they know how to win. But it's just like the match with Hurricane this morning, they came in ranked above the girls and we were happy to get to show everyone that we belonged in this title game."
Carbon's first game during the second day of play was against the higher ranked Hurricane Tigers and the Lady Dinos made short work of them in four matches.
The girls who play for the Dinos are as diverse as the positions and skill they excel at during each match.
Recognized before the state title game were all the of the academic all-state winners which included Carbon star Megan Garvin who currently holds a 4.0 grade point average.
Garvin is recognized as the team's stoic leader. According to coach Johnson, Garvin has the ability to take a game over at any time a task her team asks of her often.
|Whitney Oliver digs one out during the title game at UVSC.|
"She is an amazing player and a person," said Erika Potts, a teammate of Garvin's and a fellow starter. "She plays really smart and she is very supportive to everyone on the team. She doesn't say a lot and can be kind of shy but when she says something she means it."
Potts detailed the skills each member of the team's starters possess, from her opinion that Julia Potts is the best setter she has ever played with, to the fact that Brittney Gustas digs balls off the floor when no one else could. She went on at length about Britni Greenwood, Whitney Oliver and Joy Malone.
Erika did not talk much about herself showing that she really is a team player. Although it is plain to see from the side court that her fire stokes the Dino machine.
"Our team has really great chemistry," said Potts. "To me that is the thing that makes us good, we like each other, we are close and we play as a team."
That would become evident as the Dinos made their way through the tournament.
Their first game against Logan was a three game sweep as the Dinos put the grizzlies down quick 25-17, 25-15 and 25-5.
"We started tight and made some mistakes," said Johnson following the win. "But we calmed down and came on strong by the third set."
It was apparent from their first match that Garvin and Potts were running at top form.
"Garvin was a monster out there and when Potts is setting her up the way she was they are unstoppable," quipped Johnson.
Carbon's second match vs. Uintah was more of a contest. Carbon went up early in the first game and then Uintah stormed back. Carbon called time out after going down two 12-10 after being up 6-10 in the game.
|The Carbon High Lady Dinos hold their trophy high as they claim second at the state tournament at Utah Valley State College.|
Carbon came out of the timeout focused and closed out the first game 25-19.
Uintah battled tough during the short contest but once Carbon had dug in there was no stopping them and again they went on to sweep their opponent in straight games, finishing the last two 26-24 and 25-17.
"Uintah was tough, we knew they were going to be," said Potts, in an interview the day after the state tournament. "We felt they were underrated, so we went at them with everything we had."
According to several Carbon players coaching was something that made a big difference for them this year.
"We have a great coach," said Potts. "She was great the whole tourney. She was really tough on us in practice all year long, she was intense. She made us better and she never played favorites. She played the players who needed to be on the court at certain times."
Carbon's battle with Morgan was a classic clash of the titans. Fans from both teams had whipped the David O McKay Center to a fever pitch by the match's onset.
For fans of Morgan the surprise came in the fact that Carbon was not just going to lie down and let the Trojans take home another title.
From the stands onlookers could hear Morgan's fans discuss the route that was to come. But Carbon would allow no such thing.
They left everything they had on the court and as they hoisted their second place state trophy to the cheers of loyal fans, it was their play not the outcome of the match that mattered.